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UT Student Trainer Teaches High-Intensity Class at New Fitness Center


Bryan Tissot, HIIT class instructor at the UT fitness center. Photo by Todd Montgomery.


After 14 months of construction work on campus the much anticipated wait is officially over – The University of Tampa has finally opened its new two-story Fitness and Recreation Center located right at the heart of campus. The 40,000-square-foot illuminated Fitness and Recreation Center, is home to all exercise programs including six group exercise rooms. The new facility is roughly eight times bigger than the previous fitness center, and will offer three times the number of group classes for students and faculty members to enjoy.

“I am literally excited about every aspect of this new gym,” said Bryan Tissot a junior Economics major, “They have state-of-the-art equipment [and] the rooms for group classes are unbelievable.”

Tissot, a former player on the UT Men’s soccer team, worked at the McNiff Fitness Center (the previous recreation facility on campus) last school year as a front office assistant. His main duty was to assure the facility remained in good conditions and stayed in compliance with safety standards. Tissot credits his many hours spent at McNiff as a big reason why he dedicated this past summer to becoming a certified personal trainer. This year Tissot will be taking on even more responsibilities, adapting to his new role change from assistant to personal instructor.

“Right after the spring semester ended I had a lot of free time,” Tissot said. “I started to study at the beginning of June and [then] five weeks later I passed my certification – It wasn’t an easy journey.”

Tissot took his personal training certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine after he attended a  workshop event held on campus. In addition to preparing for the exam, Tissot purchased a rigorous online support program along with textbooks to help with his heavy studying. “I had to remain consistent through these five weeks, and I literally studied everyday for at least two hours,” Tissot said. “The key was to set up short-term goals and to remain organized.”

After Tissot’s sophomore year at UT he had began to realize it was time to focus on other aspects of his life and not on just being a student-athlete. His niche for inspiring others has always been an ulterior motive that continues to drive him to follow his dreams. “One of my main goals in life is to help people as best as I can and I truly believed that attempting to be a personal trainer would have been a way for me to accomplish my expectations,” Tissot said.

This fall Tissot will be instructing 25-minute group HIIT classes three times a week at the Fitness and Recreation Center. HIIT, which is abbreviated for high-intensity interval training, is designed for the body to burn more calories in a short amount of time. The workout consists of short durations of quick bursts at a high-intensity level followed by a more moderate exercise to keep the heart rate pumping while melting body fat.

“These types of workouts are the most efficient ones for people who are looking to build lean muscle, reduce overall body fat, and burn tons of calories,” Tissot said. “I decided to focus on HIIT workouts because I believe that nowadays people don’t have the time to spend hours in the gym, they’re busy with their routines, work, school, etc., I thought it would be a fantastic idea to bring this innovative training here for students as the majority want to start working out but do not have the time.”

Not only does Tissot plan on helping students at UT with their fitness goals, his ideas extend far beyond that. Just recently Tissot launched a company called HIITwins Fitness, a Tampa based business ran by him and two other UT students.

“We work well together since we are best friends,” said junior Monty Berrow. “We live together so the communication is great! We also have another partner, Bay Downing, who is on the soccer team and lives with us.” Berrow is a member of the UTMS team is an international business major that spends his free time overlooking the newly-founded fitness company.

“I have wanted to get into the fitness industry for a couple of years and had a few ideas,” Berrow said. “This is the first viable fitness business I could manage while still at school and playing soccer. We have many expansion plans for the future which will be determined by how the market reacts.”

The three founders engineered HIITwins Fitness towards providing a highly enjoyable and efficient workouts to all those located in the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, the company holds four group classes a week at different locations. The classes last anywhere from 25 to 30 minutes. The company strives to welcome all levels of fitness personnel ranging from beginner-level to advanced and the classes can be performed without any extra equipment.

“Our company is all about bringing the most enjoyable classes possible to every fitness individual,” Tissot said. “I definitely think that working at the new gym complex will bring a great experience for my personal development, but I am definitely looking forward to great things for HIITwins.”

Candace Martino can be reached at

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